JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
After hours of shopping, stitching and crafting, a piece of work comes together. For former Tech Sgt. Randolph Sena, this work shows in his life as a civilian Airman and a recreational cosplayer.
No matter the job or training, the Air Force has a philosophy that applies to all Airmen: attention to detail.
Sena, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews chief of exercises, knows this all too well, as his entire career has been detail oriented. For Sena, this aspect of his job merged smoothly with his personal hobby of cosplay, short for costume play, when he started participating in the activity in 2010.
"My interest in this type of performance art began when a couple of friends invited me to conventions where costume contests were held for fans of different comics, films, television series, games, manga and anime," he said. "I read comics as a kid, so this definitely appealed to my childhood love of superheroes and storytelling."
At his first Comic Con in 2010, Sena's attention to detail into his rendition of a "Steampunk Thor" won him his first contest.
"I would spend weeks shopping at thrift shops, crafts stores and on Amazon to find all the parts and clothing I needed," he said. "It was a constant challenge of being creative on a budget but also trying to match the details of the character I was trying to emulate."
His next convention was Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia in 2012. To add to his fantasy wardrobe, Sena created several more outfits consisting of Doctor Who and a dwarf from the popular online game "World of Warcraft." He placed third in the Dragon Con costume contest with his dwarf costume.
The most recent convention Sena attended was Awesome Con at the Washington D.C. Convention Center in April. 140,000 people attended, with around 400 people competing in the costume contest.
"The best costume I've seen was a guy dressed up as a character from the popular video game series 'Gears of War,'" Sena said. "The realism of the character was very impressive and just brought the whole design to life for me. I just thought, 'Man, I have a lot more work to do if I'm going to match that kind of detail.'"
Sena's focus on detail oriented projects has roots all the way back to the early days of his military career.
"I was stationed at Andrews originally in 1990 at the 89th Airlift Wing as security forces and eventually cross-trained into the Inspector General's office," Sena said. "I retired in 2004 and then returned as a civilian."
He started working in the IG office in 2002 as an active duty military member. He came back in 2005, doing the same job, but as a civilian with more positional authority and experience, he said.
Sena's current job responsibilities entail conducting regular inspections and exercises for the base. For example, he covers compliance inspections and active shooter training programs for Andrews Airmen.
The exercises and inspections conducted here focus on performance and cohesiveness amongst the units.
"My Air Force training has definitely helped me in my professional goals, as well as my personal interests and hobbies," he said. "Outside of my career, I have a personal passion for theatre, set-making and costume design."
Sena claims his constant focus on the intricacies of his assignments over the years have helped keep his mind and eye sharp.
"My entire military career taught me to focus on all the little details that go into the final product we put out, whether it's a checklist, report, presentation, or any other tangible result of our efforts," he said. "It's a great feeling to know that the time and focus I put into my work really shines when I complete a project. This mindset will stick with me and continue to help me as an Airman, both professionally and personally."